Early Rhodie Dazzle

April 9, 2013

Pink PJM Rhododendron April '13


One of the most ubiquitous plants in Pacific Northwest gardens is the rhododendron. The native rhododendron is the Washington State flower.

As a fan of lengthy periods of bloom standard large-blossomed rhododendrons leave a lot to be desired by me. 50 weeks of green leaves and 2 weeks of spectacular bloom is almost too little finery for the work involved. But as a foundation shrub they make an outstanding dense evergreen backdrop for other plants such as Japanese maples that produce outstanding leaf color.

However, dwarf and species rhododendrons can offer more than just gorgeous flowers. With a little study you can find plants that have foliage that is every bit as exciting as their bloom. In autumn, some types produce leaf color so striking it is hard to believe they are related to the dull green behemoths that occupy so much space in the gardens of old houses and public parks. Still others have flowers that are scented like lilies and there are varieties that will bloom at Christmas, while some will color the yard on the 4th of July.

The rhododendron pictured above, a PJM hybrid, produces buds in March and is in its full magenta glory right now. But the thing that makes this plant an outstanding specimen is its bold after-bloom leaf color of deep mahogany. Later this summer it will provide a striking contrast to the watermelon and gold colored day lilies planted directly in front of it.

If you are interested in rhododendrons, please take the time to learn about lesser-used varieties, as well as their cousins the azaleas that can make valuable specimens for any gardener’s four or three season garden. Rhodies have much more to offer when you explore the large selection of smaller plants now available at nurseries and online.


Photograph copyright 2013 by G. W. German. All Rights Reserved.


Autumn In PT: Part Three

November 3, 2012







All Images Copyright 2012 by G. W. German

All Rights Reserved.

Autumn In PT: Part Two

October 28, 2012





All Images Copyright 2012 by G. W. German

All Rights Reserved.

Autumn In PT: Part One

October 27, 2012

After a late dry spell that lasted about 7 weeks we shifted into the cold and wet very abruptly. This years autumn foliage has been brilliant, but the weather is making it shorter than usual as the leaves are falling faster due to frequent bouts of rain and wind. Autumn before daylight savings time shifts is one of my favorite times of year but, here in the Northwest, it is always way too brief. I guess that brevity makes it all the more precious.










This is the first in a few posts devoted to autumn’s beauty.


All Images Copyright 2012 by G. W. German

All Rights Reserved.